UK's Genius Sports bets on NY-listed SPAC to go public in $1.5 billion deal

(Reuters) - London-based Genius Sports Group Ltd said on Tuesday it would go public through a merger with New York-listed special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) dMY Technology Group Inc II DMYD.N, joining the bandwagon of firms accessing markets via SPAC deals.

Genius Sports, which acquires data from sports events and supplies it to sports betting operators, said the deal, which is valued at about $1.5 billion including debt, is expected to close in Q1 2021.

The company maintains partnerships with over 500 sports organisations globally, including the NBA, NCAA, FIBA, FIFA, English Premier League and NASCAR.

“We chose a SPAC deal to help us list quickly and minimise distractions to the daily running of the business,” CEO Mark Locke said in a phone interview, when asked why the company chose not to pursue a traditional IPO.

Merging with a SPAC, an alternative to going public in a traditional initial public offering, involves less regulatory scrutiny and more certainty over the market valuation and funds raised.

SPACs have been behind some of the most high-profile public listings over the past year, including online betting firm DraftKings DKNG.O and billionaire investor Richard Branson's space tourism firm Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc SPCE.N.

dMY, which the Genius Sports called a “natural partner”, went public in August after raising $240 million from its IPO and has already bought Chicago-based online gambling company Rush Street Interactive LP.

The boards of both the companies have unanimously approved the transaction, the company said, adding that Locke will be CEO of the new merged entity.

The new company is expected to trade its ordinary shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “GENI” upon closing of the deal, it said.

(This story recasts paragraph 1)

Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong and Bhargav Acharya in Bengaluru; editing by Rashmi Aich and Jason Neely